Chris’ 90th Birthday Celebration
We are celebrating the birthday of Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz as he turns 90 on July 1, 2021! For over 60 years, Chris has shared his enthusiasm for regional music, introducing new audiences to Mance Lipscomb, Clifton Chenier, Los Pinguinos Del Norte, the Campbell Brothers, and many, many more. In recognition of his work, he has been named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts, inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame, and received the Trustee’s Award from the Recording Academy.
Our lives have been enriched by Chris’ dedication to capturing that “down home” sound. Enjoy these short videos featuring interviews, photos from the archive, and or course some great music. To find more content about the music that made up Arhoolie, visit us on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube.
Chris’ 90th Birthday Playlist on Spotify
Enjoy a tour through the rich musical life of Chris Strachwitz. From blues and gospel to Cajun and zydeco to his “mania” for Mexican-American and all types of international music. All the music you will hear on this playlist was recorded by Chris and shared through Arhoolie Records.
Throwback Thursdays Playlist
Listen to and see some of the moments that Chris was song catching. From recording techniques to revelations about the situations he found himself in, listen to Chris in his own words describe how and why he captured those precious sounds.
Saturday Sitdowns Playlist
Watch these short videos where Chris describes some of his earliest music experiences, his first encounters with different regional styles, and he’s so passionate about sharing all this music.
(click the playlist button for all videos)
Tuesday Records Reissue #1 – Blues Classics
In 1964, Chris kicked off his important Blues Classics reissue series with a full LP of cuts from 78s by the great Memphis Minnie, heard here singing “In My Girlish Days.” At the time, unless you were a serious collector or knew one, it was hard to find old recordings like these, or even know they existed. Blues Classics introduced new generations to popular artists of the 30s, 40s, and 50s like Washboard Sam and Sonny Boy Williamson, and turned up hidden gems like the Detroit Count.
Tuesday Records Reissue #2 – Old Timey
“Why would anybody from California put out these Cajun records?” thought young Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet when he came across an LP full of old 78-rpm recordings from Louisiana sometime around 1970. With his Old Timey reissue label, Chris Strachwitz introduced musicians and fans to pioneers of Cajun accordion and fiddle, long forgotten hillbilly recording artists, old time string bands, classic country duets, originators of Western swing, and other artists who by the 1960s could only be heard on hard-to-find 78 rpm discs. For a budding tradition bearer like Mike Doucet, discovering that LP in a record bin in the Sears building in downtown Lafayette changed his life forever, and in the process, changed ours too.
Tuesday Record Reissue #3 –Folklyric
“There’s a piece called the ‘Circling Pigeons Waltz,’ it’s the most beautiful thing – kind of sour, like a wheel about to go off the road all the time. It’s the most lilting little waltz.”
– Tom Waits.
He heard it on “Texas Czech Bohemian and Moravian Bands 1928-1953” — one of many beautiful and sour classics Chris reissued on the Folklyric label.
Tuesday Record Reissue #4 – Tex Mex Folklyric
Chris’ innate ability to hear something special in an otherwise overlooked genre is what fueled the Folklyric Texas-Mexican Border Music LP Series. His love of music created along the border ensured that these collections included corridos, rancheras, mariachis, orchestras, Tejano and Norteño music. These lovingly curated compilations and their liner notes have become a primary source for research and preservation of Mexican-American immigrant culture here in the United States. UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Arhoolie Foundation Frontera Collection